The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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A mouche to impress Mush
- Walrus whiskers convey wisdom, says proud owner

Bhopal, March 31: Hazarilal Raghuvanshi has a dream — before the hairless hunks take over the world, men will pause and reflect on the timeless elegance of the growth beneath the nose.

And if anyone dares disagree, the old man twirls the compliment of another man with a mouche — Pervez Musharraf.

In an age where clean-shaven seems to have lopped off to a great extent the machismo of the moustache, the Congress veteran is an exception.

“Moustache deserves to be celebrated, not scorned,” says the deputy Speaker of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly, stroking his walrus undergrowth.

He has reason to feel proud.

On a recent visit to Islamabad, the Pakistan President had told him: “What are you doing in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly' Why don’t you be a Pak regular'”

The invitation to join the Pakistan Army was in jest, but to fellow delegate Ishwardas Rohani, the Speaker of the House, the comment said a lot about Raghuvanshi’s moustache.

“It was a genuine compliment, I guess,” says BJP leader Rohani who led a team of presiding officers to a convention of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in Islamabad between March 25 and 27.

For Raghuvanshi, Musharraf’s comment was the ultimate compliment. “Few accessories,” he says, “convey wisdom and mystery better than an impressive moustache.”

Raghuvanshi says he invited Musharraf to visit Bhopal. “He readily agreed, saying ‘please send an invitation’,” the 78-year-old recalls.

About his favourite topic — moustaches — Raghuvanshi says he has had to shave his only twice since 1948 when he lost his parents. “It had to be done in keeping with Hindu rites,” he explains, pleased that his prize possession has braved custom and scissors to lend gravity to his visage.

Not all would agree, though.

Sure, the stubble is in — John Abraham fans would nod vigorously — but for the trendy, urban male, a hairy bush is no longer a mark of virility.

Droopy or Daliesque, where long, narrow, pointed ends curl upwards; handlebar or toothbrush, walrus or pencil, the heyday of the moustache is over. And there’s no need to split hairs over a losing battle, say those against the mouche unlimited. A look at one of filmdom’s hottest stars — Saif Ali Khan — will tell you why, they point out.

But Raghuvanshi, who still does 100 sit-ups a day and eats five parathas dipped in ghee for breakfast, insists a moustache is an important part of one’s personality. Yes, it takes time and a few trials to settle on a particular style, but once finally adopted, there’s no going back.

He has one regret, though, that is apart from the fast withering support for whiskers that go on and on. Neither his son nor his grandson has a moustache.

He has tried every trick in the book, including a long period of sullen silence when he avoided talking to them, but without success.

But the old man soldiers on. The mouche maybe dead. But to him, it’s long live the mouche.

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